As of this afternoon, the Lugos have arrived in Providence, Rhode Island from Puerto Rico! It was quite a show as we welcomed our much anticipated church planter and his family to New England.
For this year of Jonathan’s Church Planter Apprenticeship, they will be living near our church and near other families that will enfold them. After two weeks of settling in, Jonathan will jump into a full week of staff orientation with the rest of us. Then it’s time for Summer OFF, our inner city kids outreach. This year we will work exclusively in Central Falls, the location of the church plant Jonathan came to pastor. Summer OFF will give us the chance to nurture relationships in the city.
Then in August, Jonathan’s apprenticeship begins in earnest, a joint effort between NEU, Godspeed Church (from which the new church will be planted), and Acts 29.
We are grateful to God that Jonathan, Tereangeli and their three children are here. They have left a beautiful place and comfortable culture to serve as missionaries in an unfamiliar (and colder!) place—all so that others may know Christ. Their move reflects the incarnation of Christ who left heaven and came to earth to redeem sinners like us.
Why go to all this trouble? Because God loves and values the poor, and because God’s way of reaching the poor with the gospel is first of all through the local church. Consider Mez McConnell’s words:
Churches in poor areas are dying for a number of reasons. Planting and revitalizing are hard work. There is nothing remotely romantic about it.
And yet, God has purposed to reach people in the poorest parts of the world, and he will do so through the local church.
Healthy, gospel-centered churches are the God-ordained way to do ministry in hard places. Some think it doesn’t really matter who does the job, so long as Jesus is made known. But the church must remain central. It is primarily through her, after all, that God means to make himself known (Eph. 3:10, 20–21). The local church is God’s primary evangelism strategy.https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-hard-places-need-hardy-churches/
The arrival of the Lugos is God’s doing, of course. And God has used many of you to make this financially possible. We are deeply grateful for your generosity. In the near future, you will have opportunities to meet Jonathan, in person or online. Stay tuned for more information.
Until then, please pray for the Lugos’ adjustment. Entering into a new ministry often comes with spiritual pushback. Please pray for courage, for their unity as a family, and for their safety and health.
And please pray for us. We don’t simply want the Lugos to fit into our team. Rather we all want to fit into the new team that God is establishing here.